Pope Francis has elevated Mary Magdalene’s saint’s day to a “major feast,” putting her on the same level liturgically as Christ’s apostles. The pope wants Christians to consider Mary, who first told the apostles about Christ’s resurrection, as “a paradigm of the ministry of women in the church.”
Should non-Catholic Christians follow this promotion and make a big deal of Mary Magdalene’s Day on July 22?
From Inés San Martín, New feast touts Mary Magdalene as ‘paradigm’ for women – Crux Now:
At Pope Francis’s request, the annual observance on the Catholic calendar of St. Mary Magdalene, referred by some as the “repentant sinner” or “the prostitute,” and also the one who first witnessed and proclaimed Jesus’ resurrection, has been made a major feast marking women as the first evangelizers.
Liturgically speaking, the decision puts Mary Magdalene on par with the celebrations of the male apostles.
On the modern Church calendar, saints are remembered with a “memorial”, a “feast”, or a “solemnity”. On July 22, already designated a feast of Mary Magdalene, there are another 11 saints similarly honored, but now with the decree released on Friday, hers takes precedence.
Published in Latin, the decree was issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, headed by Cardinal Robert Sarah. It says that this woman, “recognized as one who loved Christ and who was very dear to him,” can be considered by the faithful as “a paradigm of the ministry of women in the Church.”
In a letter released along with the announcement, the Secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop Arthur Roche, argued that the decision speaks to the current moment facing the Church, which calls for “a deeper reflection on the dignity of women, the New Evangelization, and the greatness of the mystery of Divine Mercy.”
Roche drew attention to the fact Mary Magdalene was the first witness to Jesus’ resurrection, and also the one tasked with sharing the news with the apostles.